Inclusive Fintech: The Great Enabler of Financial Inclusion


Louisville, KY—June 6, 2018—Inclusive fintech is the application of technology and methodologies to achieve financial inclusion, which has as its goal, providing underserved populations worldwide with access to useful and affordable financial products and services that address their needs. “While everyone deserves access to the tools and services that can help them achieve financial security, the populations most in need of financial support have long been neglected by the financial services industry. Inclusive fintech enables financial services providers to give long-overdue attention to the bottom of the global economic pyramid—clearly, a winning move for all,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of Sum180, an online financial wellness service.

Recent reports suggest that financial inclusion is an idea whose time has come:

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s million dollar Catalyst Fund is supporting young fintech firms in emerging markets that are building services to reach the poor. (ImpactAlpha)
  • The Center for Financial Inclusion is helping banks, insurance companies, and payment companies apply technology to reach underserved customers globally—two billion of whom still have no bank account, and at least one billion more have an account, but rarely or never use it. (CFI)
  • At the recent Techpoint Inspired 2018 Conference in Nigeria, stakeholders called on banks to reduce transaction charges by 50%. The goal: raise financial inclusion in Nigeria from 60% to 90% in one year. (The Guardian)

“Fortunately, we now have the technology to actualize the low-margin, high-volume business model lower income markets require; fintech providers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to make financial services accessible and affordable to underserved populations around the globe,” Carla continued.

The need for accessible and affordable financial services is equally great in the US, where the wealth gap continues to widen. According to the New York Times:

  • From 1989 – 2013, U.S. families in the top 1% saw their wealth increase by 156%, while families in the bottom half saw their wealth shrink by 260%.
  • In 2013, the top 1% of families had a median wealth of $5.1 million, while one third of all families with children had no wealth, only debt.

“Clearly, financial inclusion efforts cannot ignore the millions of Americans who struggle with financial insecurity every day. Many do not own a home, and up to 40% live paycheck to paycheck. Faced with an unexpected expense, such as a $500 medical emergency, many have no savings to cushion the blow. To attend college, many must take on crippling student debt. For many, retirement is just a distant fantasy,” Carla added.

Fintech providers leading the way in the US are focused on “asset light” business strategies, such as mobile apps. Outside the US, South Africa-based DataProphet is helping insurance companies use machine-learning enabled chatbots to lower customer-service costs. In South Africa, Abe AI and Absa Bank are analyzing customer spending to find ways to promote healthy financial behavior. In India, where literacy can be a stumbling block to financial inclusion, voice recognition AI is being explored as a way to help customers complete financial transactions over the telephone, without the presence of a human customer service representative. (FIBR)

“While delivering remarkable functionality at low cost addresses many of the significant barriers to financial inclusion, it’s important to remember that this dynamic duo alone isn’t the solution. As long as money remains an emotional issue, engaging customers in their personal financial wellbeing will continue to be a challenge,” Carla continued. “Ultimately, reaching, embracing, and empowering individuals—whatever their level of need—will require an approach that melds cutting-edge technology with a deep understanding of the principles of behavior change. We still have a lot of work to do, but the pieces are coming together. We are finally building and sharing the tools that ordinary people need to transform their financial lives and move forward,” Carla concluded.

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About Sum180
Sum180 is a mobile financial wellness service that identifies users’ most relevant Next Steps to strengthen their financial picture—and makes those steps easy to accomplish.

Sum180 goes beyond traditional financial wellness services:

  • Sum180 is immediately engaging. Gamified mobile setup, tips, and easy budgeting offer instant insights and fun interactivity.
  • Sum180 offers highly personalized Next Steps—and the support to get them done. Personalized, right-sized Next Steps, how-to information, mobile tracking, and notifications for accountability empower action.
  • Sum180 provides coaching from financial advisers plus peer support. When users are ready to dig deeper into their financial picture, they have access to coaching from advisers and an online community of users, unfiltered, that allows them to explore and share.
  • Sum180 is independent and unbiased. Sum180 makes money from subscription and account fees, never from commissions on advice given.

Additional information about Sum180 may be found at

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Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations